He Left In Summer

Summer, green, fern, and branch,
beautiful words, small but precious gifts for the gods who left us behind.
We keep offering gifts.
Every year the birds sing and shadows shift.
The sun sets and the moon rises, a pale flickering
old timey movie. What wouldn’t we give
to share just one moonbeam, one sunflower,
one unshuttered day with them
these household gods of ours who have left us behind.
Our continued presence is what we perennialy offer
sacrificing on the altar of loss the very best we have to give —
ourselves wafting to them on the smoke of our love, our life. — Annette Marie Smith

Orison

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Photographer, Tsuneaki Hiramatsu

Summer flashes
like so many fireflies
blanketing the woods of our days
and then flitting away
even the last sparks we have cupped in our hands.
The brightest moments, the cleanest water, the sincerest prayer
are all things that rest momentarily in the hollow of grace we make
with our palms.
Life is a constant pattern of beauty retreating, flowing
like water, like the breath that utters the prayer ascending,
like ephemeral light bearers leaving
with the assured expectation of all that beauty
(can it be measured with palms curled like leaves ready to unfold,
can it be measured with all the curled palms in the world?)
being invoked again. — Annette Marie Smith

Summer Goddess

summer
Illustration by Cathy Delanssay

Summer Sea is a goddess
with limbs of copper and brown.
Gold from dread pirate’s loot
is braided into the nets of her hair.
Goldfish dart like lightning bugs
and koi fly like kites at her side.
The seas rise and fall, billow, swirl,
like sails on storm-tossed ships
whose figureheads chant old sea songs
with night lips painted red.
The salt and the spray are rosaries
for the mermaids who use them to pray
to Summer Sea goddess,
always the same prayer
never granted
that Summer Sea goddess will stay.
— Annette Marie Smith